NBA Player News
Smith (calf) is cleared to play in Friday's Game 6 against the Hawks, NBA.com's Jason Richmond reports.
Smith bruised his left calf in Game 5 and was considered a game-time decision for Friday's outing. However, he received the green light to play after successfully going through pregame warmups without a problem. With Ian Mahinmi (calf) sidelined, Smith's presence is critical for the Wizards as it allows the team to give starter Marcin Gortat in-game rest.
Dekker (wrist) is practicing Friday and says he will be available for Monday's Game 1 battle with the Spurs, Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston reports.
Dekker will practice fully for the first time since fracturing his hand in early April, and while the team has yet to comment on his availability, the young forward appears eager to play in the second-round series. The second-year man has averaged just over 18 minutes per game on the year, solidifying himself as a key cog in the rotation behind starters Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza. However, he may see less action if cleared to play in Game 1, as he may be a tad rusty after missing the past two months. Look for more updates on his status to come over the weekend.
Aldridge compiled 17 points (7-17 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 3-3 FT), 12 rebounds and one assist across 42 minutes Thursday in a 103-96 win over the Grizzlies in Game 6 of the series.
Aldridge did most of his offensive damage in the third quarter, scoring nine points in the period to give the Spurs a one-point advantage heading into the final 12 minutes. The big man went on to collect his second double-double of the first round as the Spurs closed out the series with the road victory. Aldridge averaged 14.8 points (on 45.3% shooting), 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 37.3 minutes per game over the six contests.
Gasol failed to score (0-6 FG, 0-1 3Pt) and added four rebounds and one assist across 20 minutes Thursday in a 103-96 win over the Grizzlies in Game 6 of the series.
Gasol was practically invisible throughout the series against his younger brother, as he averaged a meager 6.5 points (on 37.5% shooting), 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 23.2 minutes per game. Coach Gregg Popovich ended up phasing out starting center Dewayne Dedmon during the series, but Gasol didn't play well enough to capitalize on the open minutes, with David Lee instead becoming the primary beneficiary. The Spurs will surely need more offensive firepower from Gasol in their second-round series with the Rockets, who tied for second in the NBA with an average of 112.8 points per game this season.
Ennis produced 11 points (4-7 FG, 3-4 3Pt), three rebounds, one assist and one steal across 29 minutes Thursday in a 103-96 loss to the Spurs in Game 6 of the series.
After the Grizzlies took double-digit losses in the first two games of the series, Ennis ended up replacing Wayne Selden in the starting lineup. Ennis' promotion to the top unit seemed to help give the Grizzlies a bit of a lift, as the wing averaged 10.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 three-pointers and 1.0 assist in 28.0 minutes per game over the final four contests of the series. Ennis benefited from an increased workload in the postseason due to the absences of Tony Allen (leg) and Chandler Parsons (knee), but if the Grizzlies don't re-sign Allen this offseason, Ennis could be a candidate to open 2017-18 in a starting role.
Leonard scored a team-high 29 points (8-19 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 12-13 FT) and added nine rebounds, four assists and three steals across 40 minutes Thursday in a 103-96 win over the Grizzlies in Game 6 of the series.
Leonard lived at the foul line throughout the first round, converting an incredible 59-of-61 attempts (96.7%). Coach Gregg Popovich's decision to manage Leonard's minutes cautiously in the regular season seemed to pay dividends, as the All-Star forward was able to stay consistently productive while playing at least 39 minutes in four games of the series. He averaged 31.2 points (on 54.8% shooting), 6.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.3 three-pointers and 2.0 steals in the first round and should continue to rack up stats across the board in the Spurs' Western Conference semifinals matchup with the Rockets, which kicks off Monday.
Antetokounmpo provided 34 points (13-23 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 7-13 FT), nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks across 47 minutes during Thursday's 92-89 Game 6 loss to the Raptors.
Antetokounmpo played all but one minute during Thursday's game, dominating on both sides of the ball on route to a new career high in playoff points in a game. Though he played with intensity and dominance, the Bucks ultimately couldn't get the victory as the Greek Freak struggled with his free-throws down the stretch. That being said, only two other players scored in double figures for Milwaukee -- Khris Middleton with 19 and Matthew Dellavedova with 12. Antetokounmpo's struggles from the charity stripe in Game 6 aside, he ultimately had not only a coming out party this series, but for the whole season. He finished the 2016-17 campaign averaging 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.6 steals while shooting 52.1 percent from the field across 35.6 minutes per game -- certainly worthy of Most Improved Player consideration.
Ibaka finished with seven points (2-7 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 11 rebounds and two blocks across 31 minutes during Thursday's 92-89 Game 6 victory over the Bucks.
Though Ibaka struggled to find good looks and knock them down, he was the game's leading rebounder with 11 boards -- his best performance on the glass since Game 1, where he ripped down 14 rebounds. Ibaka also feasted on Milwaukee's lack of perimeter shooting throughout the series, averaging 2.4 blocks coming into Thursday's contest, where he swatted two shots. Depending on how coach Dwane Casey addresses the starting lineup during the Raptors' next series against the Cavaliers, he could be faced up against a tough offensive opponent in Kevin Love. Though, if coach Casey opts to keep rolling with Ibaka at center, he could be matched up against Tristan Thompson. Regardless, Ibaka will be forced to protect the glass, as both players are top-tier rebounding presences. Game 1 tips off Monday.
Williams was assigned Thursday to the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
The Vipers are currently fighting for a D-League championship, with Thursday marking the final game of the series. Williams will head down looking to help secure the trophy, but should be recalled shortly after to rejoin the Rockets for their own playoff run. That said, Williams didn't play a minute in the final four games of the Rockets' first-round matchup with the Thunder and is nothing more than emergency depth off the bench.
Butler will play in Friday's Game 6 despite experiencing soreness in his knee, Nick Friedell of ESPN reports.
Butler banged knees with a Celtics' player in the second half of Wednesday's game. Although the Bulls are downplaying the knee issue, it is worth noting that Butler attempted only two fourth-quarter shots after the injury in Game 5 and failed to score in the quarter. He could also be seen favoring the knee at times and using an electronic stimulation machine on it during postgame interviews. Nevertheless, Butler will play in Game 6, and he will need to play well with Rajon Rondo (thumb) likely out and Chicago's season on the line.